Kelley, Holiday in the Park, and the Texas Giant

Cyndy and I took granddaughter Kelley to Holiday in the Park on the final Sunday, thanks to comp tickets and parking pass courtesy of Suzanne Mason. When our son, Cameron, and I took Kelley and a friend last year, the only roller coaster we got to ride was the Runaway Mine Train (she was shorter then). And that was not “intense enough” for her. My objective this year was to ride a more intense ride.

We had planned to get there before the park opened at 2 p.m. We got there just as they were opening so we came close. We made our way to the parking lot and settled in line. We started to pass an aisle when I stopped to let the truck waiting come on out. He came out and motioned behind.

“There’s a parking spot down there is what he’s saying,” Cyndy said.

So I turned and, sure enough, there was an empty space. Things were starting on a good note. We knew we had limited time because we planned to be gone before dark, so we headed for the Texas Giant. As we waited in line we listened to televisions with the sound system turned up louder than necessary, playing things no one was paying attention to. You just couldn’t get away from the sound.                                                                                                          

While we talked and joked, I was thinking about the ride we were about to go on. I have never ridden a roller coaster bigger than the Runaway Mine Train, and there is a reason for that. I don’t have a fear of heights, but I do have a healthy respect for the distance to the ground. I have also never found it comfortable to feel as if I might be thrown through the air at any given moment.

Kelley, being young and fearless, had none of my misgivings. She was ready to ride an “intense ride.” I could have just sat it out and waited for them at the end of the ride. I had that choice all the way up to the time we got in the seats. Kelley probably wouldn’t have cared. But I was not about to take anything away from her “intense” experience on the largest roller coaster she had ridden.

I believe Cyndy and Kelley got in the last seat of the last car in the chain. I got into the seat in front of them. No one got in beside me. Which was just as well. We headed out, going up the first upward incline. I looked out over the park and the surrounding area.

As we crept higher, I looked at the tracks and the people in front of me. At the top of the incline, and just before we began our descent, I heard Cyndy say “okay Kelley,” letting her know it was time to throw her arms up and scream – which they did a lot. After the ride, when we got out of the seats and headed for the exit, Cyndy said she thought it was fun, and Kelley said it was “awesome.” I was glad to be back on solid ground.

We had to exit through the gift shop – what else is new? There were employees behind a counter to sell pictures. We told one of them we were in the back car and she pulled it up on the screen. Kelley didn’t want a picture, but the employee gave Cyndy a card so we could buy it online.

Part of me wanted to get the picture. Another part of me didn’t. In it, Cyndy and Kelley are throwing up their hands and screaming. I have my eyes closed as tight as I could get them.

I did it. I went on an “intense” ride with my granddaughter and came out unscathed (albeit with my eyes closed). Which is a good thing. Because I will never do it again.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

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